The IEEE 802.3ba standard, ratified June 17, 2010, addresses critical challenges facing technology providers today, such as the growing number of applications with demonstrated bandwidth needs far exceeding existing Ethernet capabilities, by providing a larger, more durable bandwidth pipeline. Furthermore, collaboration between the IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet Task Force and the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 15 ensures these new Ethernet rates are transportable over optical transport networks.
The new standard will act as the catalyst needed for unlocking innovation across the greater Ethernet ecosystem. IEEE 802.3ba is expected to trigger further expansion of the 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet family of technologies by driving new development efforts, as well as providing new aggregation speeds that will enable 10 Gb/s Ethernet network deployments.
The standard’s ratification also dovetails into efforts aimed at delivering greater broadband access, such as the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s “Connecting America” National Broadband Plan, which calls for 100 Mb/s access for a minimum of 100 million homes across the U.S.
In addition to providing an increased bandwidth pipeline, IEEE 802.3ba remains compatible with existing IEEE 802.3 installations, thereby preserving significant industry investment in the technology. The new standard is also expected to generate concrete benefits, such as lowered operating expense costs and improved energy efficiencies, by simplifying complex link aggregation schema commonly used in today’s network architectures.
Key stakeholders for IEEE 802.3ba include users and producers of systems and components for servers, network storage, networking systems, high-performance computing, data centers, telecommunications carriers, and multiple system operators (MSOs).
“Ubiquitous adoption of bandwidth-intensive technologies and applications, such as converged network services, video-on-demand, and social networking, is producing rapidly increasing demand for higher-rate throughput. As mass-market access to these technologies continues accelerating, coupled with today’s progressively more powerful server architectures, data centers, network providers and end-users alike are finding themselves confronted by pressing bandwidth bottlenecks,” said John D’Ambrosia, Chair, IEEE P802.3ba Task Force, and Director, Ethernet-based Standards, CTO Office, Force10 Networks. “IEEE 802.3ba will eliminate these bottlenecks by providing a robust, scalable architecture for meeting current bandwidth requirements and laying a solid foundation for future Ethernet speed increases.”